DIY can get you solution below $50 with quality of materials of $1000 complete cable especially if you have a demand for longer wires.
These are also a bit above your budget but worth paying up for IMHO. Excellent cables…
I recommend DHLabs Q-10. DHLabs does very high quality very cost effective cables. I recommend not biwiring… you want to put the highest quality cable you can for the money. Biamping can make a big difference, I haven’t heard much if any difference by biwiring. You can always add high quality jumpers later.
This is my standard starter cable. While it is system dependent, you are likely to hear a good improvement in sound quality.
I’m a tightwad and I’ll toss what I use into this thread .
I have a set of acoustat 2+2 connected to a Jolida 100w
tube amp and energy 2.8 Veritas triamped with three
I found a surplus company that had black single strand
silver plated copper multi strand wire for $.79 a foot.
I clearly marked it - and + and used it for all .
I think I paid under $200 for it and still have some leftover
on the spool.
I think the newer version Kimber 8PR might be the best new cable deal around...uses their excellent "vari strand" copper, great connectors (I use their bananas for the potassium content on the amp end, with "postmaster" el squishos on the speaker end), and for longer runs (why I needed another pair of speaker cables for my re-designed gear heap) they get 9awg into each leg. Hard to beat for the money and they sound great.
Any preowned cables from Nordost, Audience, Cardas, Analysis Plus, Kimber, Zu Audio, or Audioquest will do just fine. Don’t get too caught up in cables. Just buy a quality built, pure copper cable and you’ll be just fine. If it has just a touch of silver, that's fine. I'd stay away from pure silver. Just my opinion
Cost effective wires that don't sound like they are--they shoot well above their price. For years I used Speltz Anticables and it took much more expensive ones to beat them in some areas. You can buy a specific amount and easily make your own. Even at that length, the price for the original ones would be about $100. Paul would be helpful on what would sound the best termination wise.
These cables would work well with ATC. The cables are very clear and all frequencies are balanced in frequency. I kept trying to beat them in SQ and it took a cable that was about $700 for 8 ft. to even marginally do it. The Anticables have won all sorts of awards and have been used in fairly expensive systems. For low cost cables, these will make the ATC's come alive.
All speaker cables are not the same. Let me make that clear before either camp launches an attack. Many are just fine. Some are bad. Some like bad. Some do not.
Many exotic cables do sound fine. As good as zip cord actually. Let me clarify that: Decent copper 14 or 12 gauge. I prefer twisted pair as I once had very long runs pick up an illegal 1000W CB radio. I see a lot of Amazon level speaker cable for sale that is copper plated aluminum. You can always go up a gauge or two to keep your DF. In really long runs, It is possible that the reactive parameters of different geometry can have some small linear distortion effect. If you run 50 foot cables maybe. Easy to measure. Long term, some insulation (vinyl mostly) is acidic and will corrode the cable. Audible? Don't know but green slime oozing out of the end does not make me feel good. At RF where the skin effect is relevant, it is probably very bad. ( slime is a combination of the plasticizer oils and the oxide). Poor termination can also cause an audible problem but another area right from the snake oil pit with very expensive solutions to 50 cent problems.
Unfortunately many do sound different in that they distort more to some degree. Yes, there are numerous OBJECTIVE measurements that identify these distortions, linear and non-linear. You may like these distortions, so then the cable is right for you.
The more you pay, the more your brain is going to tell you they have released some magic detail that was never in the recording to start with. Our brains are marvelous processors able to stroke our egos to the Nth degree. Do you hear a difference? Yes, you probably do, but it is not the cable unless your previous cable was some exotic junk. So enjoy whatever your brain tells you as it is music to your ears that counts. Reproducing music is more about fooling our brain than technical performance.
A topology I would like to see further investigated is inclusion of the amplifier output filters all the way to the speaker terminals in the feedback loop. That would eliminate any of this cable nonsense. Unfortunately, phase shift makes this very very difficult. Only slightly easier in a powered speaker as you have control. An interview with Bruno Putzes gave a hint that active filtering in the feedback can do this. I would love to see an ASE paper on it. Four wire sensing and a fixed known cable would be absolutely necessary. Nothing that is not SOP in the lab.
This viewpoint is based on the science as we know it in this universe. Physics and psychoacoustic. If you have any repeatable, demonstrable evidence to prove the contrary, I am all eyes and ears. Not " I think it sounds" which will not sway the objectivists any more than someone with an Ohm meter will sway someone who spent $1000 on some magic cable. Religion is not science. People are funny, that's all there is to it. Blind A/B testing needs to meet the same 6 sigma as is acceptable in any other scientific measure. It has never met that mark I am aware of.
Lol, I bought some of the same wire and still have a few feet left. It started out in my primary system and stayed there for years until it became the wire for my HT.
All the best.”
I haven’t gotten around to replacing my ht wire with it, I still have a set of Radio Shack mega cable in the spider web mess of wires.
I used to run Wireworld Equinox Shotgun Biwire, I also had Acoustic Zen Satori, then I went to Audience AU24... the best and least expensive and what I am running today are Anti-Cables...
I've been through a couple iterations, and upgraded to the new Level 4.2 Flex a few months back... They blow away all the above cables and are wayyyy cheaper, I think I paid about $500 for a 8 foot pair.
Anti-Cables have amazing bass, open, airy, neutral, 3D, holographic all the catchy buzzwords, they deliver in spades and are very affordable and Made in USA.
That would be my suggestion, I remember when I first got into them, I had the AU24 which were like $1300 cables, I bought the older version Anticables for like $300 and they had a 30 day return deal and I figured what the heck, I’ll try them. They smoked the Audience cables which I sold for $1000 on Audiogon shortly after.
They really cant be beat for the price or even for a much higher priced hype cable IMO.
PS, I only use their speaker wires, my analog audio cables are all Acoustic Zen Absolute which I completely love and highly recommend, but they are pricey..
+1 for Anticables - I am using two pair of copper speaker cables to bi-wire my speakers. The SQ improves with every upgrade that I make to my system. They are NOT a limiting the SQ in any meaningful way: a great endorsement for such inexpensive products. I also own six of their Level 3 power cables. If you go that direction, remember to play them for a while before doing a critical evaluation.
-1 for AudioEnvy - before the Anticables, I used speaker cables and power cables from Captain (bought all-at-once at a hifi show). After the break-in, I found them remarkedly unbalanced and 'thin' sounding (hope that make sense). When I contacted him a few weeks after the purchase, he offered to sell me his newest cables - at full price (no exchange, etc.)! It made me wonder if he had the new cables ready to sell when I bought mine and that he was cleaning out old inventory.
I had Patrick Cullen build me a pair of jumper cables back when I used dynamic speakers and they were perfect in every way. Recently, I auditioned a $900.00 Audioquest Blizzard power cord for my DAC and it made a huge difference but not in a positive way. I started thinking that the only way I would be happy with an Audioquest PC would be to spend around $5,000.00. Right now I am using a Cullen Crossover PC and though the difference is subtle, it’s been an overall improvement. Anyway, the point I’m making is that just because a cable will cost you more money doesn’t mean that it’s the right cable.
++++1 for AntiCables. The 2.1 speaker cables are great entry level cables, but for mid fi and up, I'd start with the 3.1 cables......at $250 per 6 foot pair with Z bananas, they are an absolute steal. I have not tried them, but the 4.2 Flex cables at $470 for 6 foot pair look really interesting. Please do remember that AntiCables do take longer than your average cables to break in, mine started to settle in at about 150 hours....but damn they will reward you.
I also recently ordered a pair of Morrow Audio SP6 speaker cables, as I had an older pair of Morrow interconnects that I used to get the 65% off in trade in. They are being burned in at Morrow right now for 20 days, and should receive them in about a week.
Additionaly I have a pair of Zavfino Nova OCC speaker cables, DHLabs Q-10 speaker cables, and a pair of Micca Chinese made speaker cables that Steve Huff tried and liked. I'm currently working on a "from scratch" listening room that should be finished by the end of the year, where I'll have 2 amplifiers and 3 sets of speakers: Buchardt Audio S400 MkII, 1980s Infinity RS Kappa 7s (GR Research upgraded crossover, upgraded internal wiring, new gold over copper Viborg B603G binding posts), and "yet to be purchased" higher end speakers (Joseph Audio?, Fyne Audio?, Tannoy?, etc) At that point I'll start a major speaker cable shoot out for fun.
@vthokie83 Congrats on the new room! If you haven’t already, I’d very highly recommend reading this from Earl Geddes for tips on building a good-sounding room. I found it supremely interesting, educational, and useful while also being very approachable.
Best of luck with the room.
You put a lot of effort into your post. Much appreciated.
Could you post your system? There is a place to put photos and identify your components under virtual systems. Click on the little downward points triangle next to Audiogon discussion forums.
My first career was as a scientist. It is really important to show the equipment and methodology you use to observe. You can see the equipment I use under my UserID.
Majorly overlooked since they aren’t a popular name run of wire, but I’m about to receive a set of Atlas Hyper 3.5 Achromatic speaker cables. All copper, high quality, pretty low impedance, properly insulated but with good dialectic/no (or very very low) skin effect, but at a decent gauge.
was looking for cables that would pair well with my small new Spendors, and these kept coming up with excellent reviews.
priced really great for that level of quality.
I "bit-the-bullet" about 15 years ago and spent beyond my budget on a pair of JPS Labs Superconductor 3 speaker cables, and they were one the best high end audio investments I ever made. I still have the Superconductor 3 cables with no plans to replace them as, after all these years, they never cease to impress and amaze me.
👍… Exactly… buying something absurdly expensive and having it outperform your highest expectations is exactly the experience that converts lots of folks. Getting a component level upgrade from wire is what converts folks.
This has happened to me more than once. If you just try and sneak up on it and do small cost increments… great way to make yourself think there is not much to high end wire. But, really well designed and manufactured wire with the right components is really worth it.
If you can find a pair of Harmonic Technology Pro9 + used I think you will hear a substantial improvement. I have used the Neotech and Duelund 12AWG which I still own but have set aside because the HT-Pro 9 simply and clearly outperforms them.
I have not heard the Analysis Plus so can't comment there. I replaced the HT cables with some others I had because a redo of the living room rendered the HT cables too short. After about a month I ordered some Duelund cables on the strength of positive reviews and I was very pleasantly surprised at their performance and feel you would be happy with them. They are skinny and smell funny and great value.
After about a year I reinstated the 'too short' HT cables for a sanity check and they are still connected and staying connected. They can be used bi-wired but I prefer them run parallel. Oh, and they are not skinny!
A very strong recommendation.
Just another suggestion: I purchased Silnote Audio's least expensive speaker cables (Morpheus Reference II Series II @ $495) when I purchased my Focal Sopra 2s and intended to upgrade if I liked them. They were so good that I ended up just keeping them! In my system they just seemed to let the music flow more effortlessly and naturally. That was 4 years ago and I've significantly upgraded the rest of my system and these speaker cables have performed every step of the way.
I've since also replaced all of my interconnects with Silnote with great results each time.
Good luck and happy listening!!